Image Tuesday!

Tuesday March 03rd 2015, 3:02 pm

The piece I’ve selected this week was something I never thought I’d ever do: Star Wars! A few years ago I was contacted by the Lucas people saying that they were going to produce an Art Of Star Wars Comics art-book, and they were interested in me contributing something for it. I was quick to point out that I’ve ever been involved in doing Star Wars comics except for 3 covers I had done for a mini a long time ago. I wasn’t known as a Star Wars artist. In reply, that didn’t matter, that they were selecting from a small group of people to commission new pieces. I asked if I could create my own character, something new, since it was going to be a new piece. Yes! I wanted to do that because I had an idea for a piece that was to feel like a snippet of a Star Wars story we hadn’t seen. And I also wanted it to be be a very subtle homage to Jack Kirby giant monsters. But instead of it being a creature, it’s a giant war machine that looks like a creature, piloted by empire troopers. The idea was that it was facing off, like a western showdown, with one lone jedi on some alien desert world. The jedi being the lone hero in the face an evil invading force. I also wanted this to not feel like my typical work in terms of techniques. I wanted it to feel like something closer to classic fantasy illustration. The result is a wide fold out image of sequential art, not a splash poster type of thing. I used the width of it to loosely convey in design for the middle tier of panels the vague shape of a lightsaber, as the actual lightsaber in the story flickers to life. The entire image was rendered in black and white greytones, ink, and ink wash, then scanned into photoshop and digitally painted it. Normally for something I paint I do that work physically on the board. But with this I wanted to make absolute certain I had completely control over the clarity of the colors, so I went with digital paint. This also was helpful in keeping the design work very clean. The odd thing was that the hardest part of the entire image was getting the lightsaber and laser fire to look correct, graphically solid but still feel like energy bolts and blade, to feel like Star Wars. It was surprisingly difficult to get that effect cleanly. Looking back on it, I wish I had the lightsaber flickering to life in those middle panels with the blade running completely off on the right side of the page, literally coming out of the images entirely. Ultimately though, I think the sequence is relatively successful in capturing the feel of Star Wars, slightly filtered through my own sensibilities.

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